Homemade Bialys

Homemade Bialys

The Spruce / Molly Watson

  • Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 3 hrs
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 24 portions (24 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
44 Calories
3g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24 portions (24 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 44
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 350mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 1g
Calcium 13mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you're not from New York you may not be familiar with the wonder that is bialys. Bialys, like bagels, are often served with cream cheese and cured salmon (although they are also delicious split, toasted, and liberally buttered). They are a lot easier to make, however, and always come topped with a dollop of sautéed onions and often poppy seeds. Serve them toasted for the full effect.


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil and/or melted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups flour, divided (plus more for kneading and shaping)
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons poppy seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil or butter in a large frying pan, add the onion, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and very soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to let cool.

  3. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 2 1/4 cups warm water. Let sit until it gets foamy on top, about 5 minutes (if it doesn't get foamy, toss and start again with new yeast).

  4. Stir in about 1/3 of the cooked onions, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter, and the sugar, pepper, and 3 cups of the flour. Cover and set aside until the starter dough doubles in bulk, about 1 hour.

  5. Stir in the salt and remaining flour. If you have a standing mixer, this is best done with the dough hook, run until the dough forms a solid, elastic-feeling dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, you will need to turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until the dough feels elastic. In any case, try to avoid working in too much extra flour.

  6. Put the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

  7. Preheat oven to 500 F, make sure a rack is positioned in the lower third of the oven.

  8. Stir poppy seeds into the remaining sautéed onions and set aside.

  9. Prepare 1 or 2 large baking sheets–either line them with parchment paper or brush/spray them lightly with vegetable oil.

  10. When the dough has risen, gently punch it down and turn it onto a well-floured surface.

  11. Knead a few times and cut into 24 even pieces.

  12. You will need to shape and bake the bialys in batches: work each piece of dough into a disk about 5 inches wide, set on the prepared baking sheet(s), and top with a spoonful of the onion-poppy seed mixture. Repeat to fill a baking sheet and cover the remaining pieces of dough to work with later.

  13. Put shaped bialys in the hot oven, quickly throwing 1/4 cup cold water on the floor of the oven, and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  14. Transfer baked bialys to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.


  • Bialys freeze very well. Freeze whatever bialys you don't eat the first day in sealable plastic bags. Defrost simply by toasting them!